The Holidays have hit Hogwarts.
I spent the better part of today visiting The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour just outside London – for the third time. Don’t judge me.
Throughout December, January, and now into February, they have covered some of their most popular sets and decorations with snow and Christmas flair. The Great Hall is lined with tall Christmas trees covered in baubles and snow, and the long tables are covered in a festive feast of roast turkey, potatoes and peas (replicas, of course). There is even a bit of snow falling outside the stained glass windows behind the head table. While seeing and being in the Great Hall at any time is thrilling, it certainly adds to the season to see it all decked out for the holidays.
Throughout the rest of the first portion of the tour, there are little bits of festivity scattered around, from Christmas cards and tinsel in the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory to a Christmas tree and cookies in the Gryffindor common room. The rest is still fun to see, especially the Potions classroom, where there are always new ingredients and bits to discover, the Burrow’s kitchen set with their magic clock and moving knitting needles, and Dumbledore’s office set with the Sorting Hat and Godric Gryffindor’s sword.
Outside, they had occasional fake snow showers to watch while eating a hot dog and enjoying a cup of Butterbeer (which would be especially nice hot this time of year). And after lunch, they have the Knight Bus, the flying Ford Anglia, 4 Privet Drive and the house from Godric’s Hollow to pose for pictures with before heading back into the warm indoors.
The final part of the tour shows more in-depth the creation of various creatures in the films as well as how they designed the sets, shots and characters during the planning stages. The real stand-out areas are Diagon Alley, including Gringotts Bank and a cobblestoned walkway lined with shops from the books, as well as the gem of the tour – the complete model of Hogwarts Castle. As part of the festive makeovers throughout the tour, they have covered the castle with a layer of snow as they would for winter shots in the films. And finally, they have the treasure-hunt that is the wand room. Each wand box is labeled with the name of a member of the cast or crew from the films, so you can spend quite a while just looking at everyone that was involved with putting it all together and on film.
Of course, then they have to steal all your money in the gift shop. There’s all kinds of fun things to buy that are from Harry Potter, including candies from the books like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs and Fizzing Whizbees. This time I got out relatively unscathed financially, but I did have to buy another chocolate frog – complete with a Salazar Slytherin card.